The BBC has been ordered to publish secret documents that will reveal why its governors apologized to the government over broadcasting that ministers exaggerated the claim over Iraq's weapons before the 2003 war, a press report said on Wednesday.
In a landmark ruling Tuesday, the freedom of information tribunal ruled the corporation should publish confidential minutes of a governors' meeting held after the BBC was criticized in a 2004 report on the death of former Iraq arms inspector David Kelly.
Following the meeting, the governor issued an apology to Prime Minister Tony Blair's office that led to the resignation of BBC director general Greg Dykes, who said it was 'abject, embarrassing and unjustified'.
The minutes are expected to show which governors voted to force out Dykes and why and who on the board sanctioned the controversial apology.
The inquiry into Kelly's death chaired by former judge Lord Hutton confirmed that the former arms inspector was the source of a disputed BBC report that claimed ministers exaggerated Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction to justify the Iraq war.
But in his report, Hutton exonerated the government of any wrong- doings and criticized the quality of the BBC's reporting on the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which led to a row between Blair's office and the state-funded broadcaster.
According to the Guardian newspaper, which led the application for the minutes to be published under Britain's Freedom of Information Act, the BBC has resisted in disclosing the confidential documents for more than two years.
The BBC was said to have argued that minutes of all governors' meetings should remain secret as the governors would feel afraid of expressing their real opinions if they knew that these accounts would be published.
But the tribunal agreed with the Guardian's argument that the governors' meeting after the Hutton report was a 'unique and highly unusual' event in the BBC's history.
In response to the ruling, the BBC said it was considering its options on whether to hand over the documents as ordered, within 28 days, or try to overturn the verdict at the high court.
BBC told to publish why governors apologized over Iraq report - Irna
BCCI not covered by RTI law
Press Trust of India
Friday, January 25, 2008 7:42 PM (New Delhi)
Reported by NDTV.com: BCCI not covered by RTI law
The country's apex cricket governing body BCCI could not be made accountable to provide information to citizens under the Right to Information law, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has held.
In a recent order, the CIC rejected a citizen's plea to seek from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) certain information about its affairs.
Nagpur-based Anil Chintaman Khare in his RTI application had submitted that BCCI was registered under the Societies Registration Act and should be termed a "public authority" for the purposes of making it accountable under the transparency law.
The BCCI, however, contested the applicant's claim stating that despite being registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, it was not constituted under the Constitution or any law made by the Parliament or any state legislature.
Concurring with BCCI's stand, Information Commissioner Padma Balasubramanian said: "Registration under an Act is different from being established under it. Merely because BCCI is registered under the Societies Registration Act, does not bring it under the purview of RTI Act."
In its arguments before the Commission, the BCCI had contended that it did not receive any funds, directly or indirectly, from the Centre and also did not have on its board any nominee from any government.
The applicant said BCCI received a lot of tax benefits from the government and hence should be made answerable to the people of the country.
The Commission came to its decision after finding that BCCI did not fall under any of the categories required to bring any public office under the RTI Act.